ARC Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

4/5 Stars 
Published by Flatiron Books
Published January 31st, 2017

Synopsis: Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Caraval was magical. Stephanie Garber did an excellent job crafting this world with her hands and did an even better job with her words. The experience I had whilst reading this book was whimsical, dream-like, and so mischievous. Everything about this story was intriguing - it makes you wish you were there with Scarlett. Having such high hopes going into this book, I was on the hunt for any bit of fault that would deem it not worthy of the hype it was receiving. Immediately, I was shut down. The writing in this book is flawless and the plot was so enthralling. This is a book you will not be able to put down, and better yet, a book that will keep you on edge until the last page. I am making a prediction now, that Caraval will hit the NYT Bestsellers list come January.

ARC Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

4.5/5 Stars
Published by Random House 
Published September 20th, 2016

Synopsis: I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she's brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

This was such a fun read for me. I read this on a car ride up to Connecticut and could not put it down for the life of me. Jessica Cluess, a debut author, stunned me with her excellent storytelling and amusing set of characters. While I was already super excited for this book (because female sorcerer), I was even more delighted when I found myself a style of writing that was so easy to read. For this book, I felt that the writing played a great part in the development of the foundation of this story. This type of fantasy, one with elemental magic and danger in everything, is my favorite type of fantasy, and I felt that Cluess did a fantastic job molding it to her liking. 

BBCP: If Book Characters Were Superheroes

Welcome back to another year of BBCP! Last year, Nori created the Book Blogger Creativity Project and I am so happy to be able to participate in it again. This year, myself and a group of five other bloggers will basically be either comparing our favorite characters to superheroes, or creating their own. Today, I'll be comparing my faves to my faves. In dedication to the release of Suicide Squad, I now present to you my bookish superheroes.

Clearly I would begin this post with a character from my favorite trilogy - June Iparis from Legend. This girl is literally Natasha Romanov aka Black Widow. If I had an all superhero squad assembly like the Avengers or X-Men, I would kill to have June on my squad. June has spent a good amount of her time at Drake training in the arts of military tactics, which makes her an excellent fighter, great analyst, and overall a certified badass. I'm sure if you got June and Natasha pegged against each other, they'd be going at each other for days on end - because that's just how good each of them are. I also really love girl power, so hell yes to June and Nat.

Next up, Alina Starkov from Shadow and Bone. Alina is basically Sunspot from the X-Men, who can absorb solar radiation and then use it in a variety of ways. Sunspot can fire heat and solar power from practically every part of his body, use thermal energy to fly, and produce the heat of a thousand suns, and he's one of my favorite superheros ever. Now if you know Alina, you know this girl can pack a punch with her sun powers. She is the literal light of the Grishaverse and knows how to use her powers to her advantage. Honestly add Sunspot and Alina together and the whole world would combust. 

These two amazing female main characters, who I already consider superheroes, would change the world as we know it. Since I'm a massive Marvel fan, I knew this post would be fun to write up. Are there any book to superhero comparisons that you can make? Let me know in the comments below!!

ARC Review: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

4.5/5 Stars
Published by Imprint
Published October 4th, 2016

Synopsis: I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

I don't know if you guys have noticed yet or not, but I'm a complete sucker for books with a steamy romance. Kami Garcia delivered, yet again, another excellent book with phenomenal writing, an engaging plot line, and a sizzling red-hot romance. The Lovely Reckless is a book that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. It's about learning to redevelop the trust within yourself and with those around you, discovering that not everything is as it seems, and to never judge a book by its cover. This story is more than just a romance.